Research Articles (School of Higher Education Studies)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Challenges of pre-service teachers' classroom participation in a rurally located university in South Africa
    (Richtmann Publishing, 2022) Adebola, Oyinlola Omolara; Tsotetsi, Cias T.
    Despite the enriched curriculum and pedagogical practices that expose everyone enrolled to be trained as professional teachers to teaching skills, the number of incompetent teachers produced by many higher learning institutions is still increasing. There is an outcry from the general public in South Africa. In order to gain insight into this concern, this study examined the challenges of pre-service teachers’ classroom participation in a rurally located university in South Africa. A qualitative research design of a case study approach was employed to collect data from ten years 3 and 4 pre-service teachers and five lecturers. A semistructured and focus group discussion (FGD) was organised to collect data on a thematic analysis. The findings revealed that lack of preparation from both lecturer and student, the use of teacher-centred approach, difficulty in understanding English language, teaching workload, large classes, student background and tribalism are major challenges limiting pre-service teachers’ classroom participation in a rurally located university in South Africa. Pertinent recommendations were made, including student-centred and collaborative teaching and learning approaches that could encourage students to participate actively in classroom activities. This would also catalyse the pre-service teachers' involvement in the teaching and learning process.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The achievement of university access: conversion factors, capabilities and choices
    (Cogitatio Press, 2019) Walker, Melanie
    In the light both of persistent inequality of education opportunities for low income families and a wide equality gap in South Africa, this article explores students’ university access by applying Amartya Sen’s capability approach to a South African case study. The article demonstrates empirically that access is more than an individual project, shaped both by objective conditions and subjective biographies, that is by general conversion factors and a person’s social and personal options. Key conversion factors are material (income) and social (family, community, school, information), which produce an interlocking system of opportunity. Access thus requires more than formal opportunity to enable social mobility for all. The case study comprises qualitative interviews with diverse students in their first year at one university; illustrative narratives are selected to show different pathways, conversion factors and choices. Agency and self-efficacy emerge as especially important for making choices but also for constructing a higher education pathway where none exists for that person and her family. The article suggests that higher education has the potential to advance social mobility provided that it moves in the direction of expanding the capabilities of all students to have the choice of higher education.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Revisiting expansive learning for knowledge production and capability development at postgraduate level in Higher Education Studies
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-03) Niemann, Rita
    Higher education in South Africa is challenged by academic and social demands. Universities, therefore, have to produce graduates who will be able to function optimally within their field of study, as well as act as agents of change in their social environment. The main purpose of this article is to theorise about applying Engeström’s expansive learning theory to teaching at Master’s level in order to address the academic demands at this level as well as foster essential capabilities. In this theoretical article, a possible framework is proposed for teaching students in a coursework programme in Higher Education Studies. The framework is based on re-conceptualised principles of expansive learning as a means of addressing the demands for producing graduates, who will possess both academic and social capabilities. The framework is an attempt to contribute to the conceptualisation of teaching as a process and a product by providing guidelines for integrating theory and practice. In this regard, it is focused on addressing both the quest for academic rigour as well as for embedding capabilities, valuable for human development.
  • ItemOpen Access
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2011) Niemann, Rita
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    Psychological resources as predictors of academic performance of first-year students in higher education
    (University of the Free State, 2013) Kotzé, Martina; Niemann, Rita
    English: This article aims to determine whether psychological resources (hope, optimism and resilience) can be potential predictors of academic performance. A cross-sectional survey design was used and the sample consisted of 789 first-year students in Industrial Psychology. The measuring instruments included the State Hope Scale (SHS), the Life Orientation Test-Revised (LOT-R), and the Adult Resilience Indicator (ARI). The results of the simple multiple regression analysis showed that state hope, and specifically pathways, and three dimensions of resilience were statistically significantly related to academic performance, whereas optimism was not a statistically significant predictor of academic performance
  • ItemOpen Access
    The design of a semantic differential scale for measuring the psychosocial well-being of students
    (University of the Free State, 2012) Viljoen, Marianne
    English: This article describes the construction and standardisation of a semantic differential scale for measuring and quantifying the psychosocial well-being of students. The respondents rate the following aspects of their childhood years: emotional support while growing up, socio-economic background, whether they grew up in an environment conducive to learning, and the presence of depression in the family. Regarding the students’ current life situation, the scale measures the degree of relationship and economic problems experienced by the students, the presence of depression, and concerns regarding HIV and AIDS.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The value of small-scale student projects in undergraduate research training
    (University of the Free State, 2010) Du Toit, Sanet; Wilkinson, Annette
    English: This article reports on the undertaking of small-scale projects for final-year Occupational Therapy (OT) students training at the University of the Free State. An Action Learning Action Research (ALAR) approach was used to investigate the impact of such projects in a clinical setting. A tree analogy is used to describe the student projects, providing the body of the investigation as a whole, and sharing the experience gained in determining the constituents of the “fertile soil” and conditions for “optimum growth”. The impact of ALAR on practical experience is explained as a first step towards establishing a research culture among undergraduate students in OT as well as in similar training contexts.